Known for its futuristic skyline and historic center, Frankfurt, or Frankfurt-am-Main, to give it its full name, is a city where old and new coexist in harmony. It's also Germany's center of finance and transport and an artistic and cultural melting pot that's filled with memorable attractions.
Museums and galleries or shopping and nightclubs; the city appeals to all tastes. Dine in the finest restaurants or picnic in one of its beautiful parks. It's all about freedom of choice in Frankfurt.
Frankfurt also enjoys a great location on the banks of the River Main and it's the capital of the scenic Hesse state. This friendly, modern city is the ideal choice for that long summer vacation, Christmas shopping trip, or spring getaway that you've been promising yourself.
For over 250 years, apple wine has been the drink of choice for Frankfurters. Try "Apfelwein" or "Ebbelwoi" in one of the traditional German Kneipen (bars) in Alt-Sachsenhausen, or take the multicolored Ebbelwei Express tram. The one-hour tour takes in some of the city's most iconic sights as you relax with a glass of apple wine or juice to a soundtrack of traditional music.
Famous statesman and writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was born here. Visit the site of his family home; the elegant four-floor, half-timbered house in the Innenstadt neighborhood is a city landmark, and it has been reconstructed as a museum.
Frankfurt has some of Germany's tallest buildings, and its skyline has earned it the nickname "Mainhattan". The best views are from the eastern bridges on the River Main or from the viewing platform of the Main Tower, the only skyscraper that's open to the public.
The old center of Frankfurt is known for the Römer complex of renovated historical buildings and Kulturschirn open-fronted shops. Highlights include the Altes Rathaus (Old Town Hall), the Neues Rathaus (New Town Hall), and the 14th-century St. Leonhard's Church. Visit during the festive season to shop at over 200 stalls in the Christmas Market.
See the massive dinosaur skeletons alongside extinct plant and animal species at the Senckenberg Natural History Museum. Or, visit Frankfurt Zoo for unique features like the Exotarium, where you can see snakes, fish, spiders, coral, and alligator or the Grzimek House, which is dedicated to the flora and fauna of Madagascar.
Frankfurt enjoys four distinct seasons, and each is an invitation to discover the city in a different light. Visit in summer for riverside attractions on the Main, or choose Christmas if you want to revel in the romantic atmosphere of the city's Christmas markets and illuminated landmarks. While summer is the peak time for tourists, spring and fall are popular; most of the city's attractions remain open all year round and you'll benefit from warm weather and fewer crowds.
International flights land at Frankfurt Airport (FRA) which is six miles from the city center. Take line 8 or 9 of the S-Bahn trains from the airport station to the downtown Hauptbahnhof station. Trains depart at 15-minute intervals and a ticket costs EUR4.25. Taxis can be found outside the terminal buildings and the fare is EUR35. If you're renting a car, follow the signs for Stadtmitte (downtown) on the A5 autobahn.
The city's Hauptbahnhof, or rail station, is one of Europe's busiest and it's noted for its elegant architecture. High-speed IC and ICE trains travel from all over Europe each day. It's easy to reach the city center using the S-Bahn train system, and trains depart from platforms 101 to 104.
It's a pleasure to drive to and in Frankfurt, as roads are well lit and maintained. The A5 connects drivers easily to the rest of the German autobahn system.
Operators such as Eurolines and Flixbus run regular bus services to Frankfurt from many European cities. You'll arrive at the terminus on the south side of the Hauptbahnhof and from there you can take a taxi, bus, or U-Bahn train to your final destination in the city.
Try affordable hotels like the Ramada Frankfurt, Holiday Inn Express Frankfurt City, or Leonardo Royal Hotel for family vacations and trips with friends. For that special romantic getaway, take a look at the city's many luxury hotels, such as Villa Kennedy, Jumeirah Frankfurt, or Steigenberger Hotel Metropolitan.
Altstadt – this is the old center and where you'll find the Römer square and Paulskirche (St. Paul's Church), a symbol of German democracy and freedom and the birthplace of the German constitution.
Sachsenhausen – this neighborhood is noted for the world-class museums along its riverbank. It's home to some of the city's best restaurants and Apfelwein bars, and is known for its party atmosphere in summer.
Innenstadt – this inner city district stretches from Konstablerwache to Alte Oper. It includes the Zeil shopping street and the Friedberger Tor, one of the city's two medieval watchtowers.
Frankfurt has an excellent public transportation system known as the RMV, which is comprised of buses, the U-Bahn subway system, the S-Bahn suburban railway, and Strassenbahn streetcars. Fares are issued by zone and tickets are valid on all parts of the system for an hour after purchase. A single fare in the inner zone costs EUR2.60 during peak morning and evening rush hour times and EUR2.30 the rest of the time. Day tickets cost EUR7.00 or EUR9.10 for the central zone plus airport.
Taxis are a readily available, if expensive, way to get around Frankfurt. A typical five-mile journey costs EUR16.
Leading car rental brands like Europcar and Sixt have outlets at the airport and in the city, and you can rent a car from as little as EUR28 per day. You should note that parking spaces can be difficult to find in tourist hotspots like Sachsenhausen, particularly on weekends. To avoid being towed and fined, park in a garage or Parkhaus for EUR1 per hour or EUR8 per day.
Goethestrasse, named after the famous writer, is one of the city's most exclusive shopping streets, and you'll find designer boutiques alongside art galleries and stylish cafes. Frankfurt also boasts Germany's longest pedestrian shopping street, the Zeil; the area includes department stores like Karstadt and Galeria Kaufhof and malls such as Zeilgalerie and MyZeil, which is noted for its spectacular glass roof tunnel feature and for having the biggest rock climbing installation in Europe.
There are lots of good supermarkets to choose from in Frankfurt. Local favorites like REWE and Scheck-in-Center carry a wide range of German and international products and you'll pay EUR1.01 for a quart of milk and EUR3.45 for 12 eggs.
Try Frankfurt's famous bratwurst sausage at the Kleinmarkthalle food market, where even locals queue to buy lunch each day. For a truly international experience, visit IIMORI Patisserie on Braubachstrasse, where French dishes and pastries are served in an authentic German setting - "just like Grandma's living room" - by the Japanese owners. No trip to Frankfurt is complete without exploring the Fressgass, which can be translated as "munching alley". Its correct name is Grosse Bockenheimer Strasse, and it's filled with restaurants, food stores, and delis. You'll pay EUR29 for dinner for two in a pub or from EUR62 in a refined restaurant.